Our Current Missions
From Your Missions Committee
Coping with the Covid-19 Pandemic
– Please advise
As we confront the Covid-19 pandemic, your missions committee wants your advice because we are not sure how to respond. We know that there are those among us who already take time to check in with others in our church to be sure they are okay, and offer to help meet their needs. But given this situation, we would like to know what your missions committee can organize to help get us through this. Here are a few of the ideas that came out of our recent brainstorming. We are looking for those ideas and ways to implement strategies that can most help our church community.
For those who are at risk, who contract the virus, and any others who cannot or should not to go out to get medications or essential supplies, would it be helpful to set up a volunteer-based errands (Post Office, pharmacy, for example), shopping, and delivery service?
For those who cannot afford groceries/medications or other essentials because of the disruptions to their lives, would it be helpful to have supplemental funds available?
Would it be helpful to have a food pantry of sorts with emergency supplies?
How would you feel about having a buddy system, where we each sign up with another family (someone in close proximity perhaps) to stay in touch with and update to be sure we’re safe and have what we need to get through this?
We are looking for any ideas that can help us look out for one another and meet the needs of those who cannot fend for themselves, and help all of us cope under these new circumstances. You can send your ideas to any or all of the following members of the missions committee:
A Local Resource: North Leverett Baptist Church Food Pantry The NLBC food pantry, 70 N Leverett Rd, is open on the first and third Monday of each month, 7-8 PM, offering food and clothing to anyone who has a need. They are members of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. For more information, call or email: 413-3672619, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meals for Lucio -- Last month Rich Connelly, Mary Hankinson and Elsje Sturtevant provided meals for Lucio Perez, in sanctuary at First Congregational Church in Amherst. To volunteer as a meal provider for our next meals for Lucio, please send Rich Connelly an email, email@example.com. We are scheduled for the week of May 18, though Rich thinks that for now that date is on hold..
One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) For now this fund-raising effort has been suspended. You may recall we announced the One Great Hour of Sharing offering for March 22 and March 29 in the last Clarion. Given our current reality, you can participate in this important missions offering if you choose by mail P.O. Box 324, Leverett, MA 01054. Make your check payable to the Leverett Congregational Church and write OGHS in the memo line. OGHS involves you in disaster, refugee/ immigration, and development ministries throughout the world.
RIP Medical Debt – For now this fund-raising effort has been suspended. Find out current information at the following link: With every $100 raised they can eliminate $10,000 in medical debt that can overwhelm individuals in some of the neediest Southern New England communities, including Springfield, MA, Bridgeport and Hartford, CT, and Providence, RI.
— Claudia Gere, Chair, Missions Committee
Community Network for Children (CNC) Clothing Swap — The CNC, which provides resources for preschoolers and hosts The Closet in the Dixon House (open Thursday mornings 8:30 to 11 a.m.), will hold a clothing swap on January 25 starting at 1 p.m. Volunteers will supply refreshments. Help with setup and cleanup are welcome. Feel free to reach out to your missions committee (Claudia Gere, ; Rich Connelly, firstname.lastname@example.org.; or Mary Hankinson, email@example.com).
Veterans Fund — The Veterans Fund is one of three special offerings we participate in for the United Church of Christ. This offering is in support of those who have served in our churches and need assistance to help with emergencies, such as unexpected medical bills, energy bills, and as well as supplemental support for insurance premiums for low income retirees. We received offerings January 12 and 19. Please make checks payable to the Leverett Congregational Church and write Christmas Fund in the memo line.
Meals on Wheels — Each year following the Candlelight Service, we accept donations for Meals on Wheels. This organization is another way we support those in need in our community. This year we raised $436. That amount will go a long way to provide meals to people who otherwise might not be able to remain in their homes.
Meals for Lucio — We continue to serve with other local churches in support of Lucio Perez during his sanctuary from deportation. Barbara Tiner, Jim Perkins, and Tom Hankinson provided meals for Lucio Perez the week of Dec. 16. We are looking for volunteers to provide meals the week of March 2. Those who would like to be added to the list of meal providers or volunteer for our next service for Lucio, please send Rich Connelly an e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adopt-A-Family — This year we adopted two families; your missions committee knew meeting all their needs would be a stretch for our small but mighty church (last year we had one family of five). And yet, our congregation responded beyond the essential requests to give these families a Christmas to celebrate. Beautifully wrapped presents of warm fuzzy slippers, Legos, and more greeted the young children on Christmas morning. For the adults, in addition to the joy of watching the children and receiving their two presents, they received boxes filled with good food, enough for many weeks of breakfasts, lunches, desserts, and other staples, as well as enough supermarket gift cards giving them peace of mind about putting food on the table for at least another month or two. I can only imagine the lift this kind of support gives to families caught in need during unexpected life transitions.
Neighbors in Need (NIN) — The Neighbors in Need (NIN) donations is one of the special missions offerings of the United Church of Christ (UCC). This opportunity helps us have a broad reach from our local communities to ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States. This year we raised $560 which when pooled with the other churches, small and large, creates a pool of grant money at the ready to help our communities in need, fighting poverty, addiction, discrimination, and more.
One Great Hour of Sharing In March 2019 we contributed $513 to One Great Hour of Sharing. OGHS is an on-going program of the United Church of Christ and supports world-wide relief efforts.
Adopt-A-Family for Christmas While we know there are many in
our local communities in need, finding them and identifying their
needs, knowing how to offer support is difficult. Fortunately, the
AdoptA-Family of Franklin County, has a group in place that
identifies families, who need a helping hand, especially during the
holidays. Last year we brought great joy to a family of 5, one of
the 215 families Adopt-A-Family helped in 2018. This year we have
two families: one with four children (girls six and nine, a boy who
is four) being raised by their grandparents. A second family is a
single mom raising three boys (ten, eight, and five). We also need gift cards for perishable foods and nonperishable foods for their Christmas Day Meals.
Needed by December 15: While the One Great Hour of Sharing, Meals on Wheels, the CROP Hunger Walk, help us join with others to bring relief to many, helping these two families is our opportunity to have a direct positive impact on two families who will truly appreciate some cheer this Christmas season. You can pick up an assignment posted on the Giving Tree in the church vestibule. Please place all items at the church by Sunday, December 15 or you can contact Claudia Gere (Claudia@ClaudiaGere.com, 413-359-0003) for pick up or help shopping.
Meals for Lucio We serve with other local churches in support of Lucio Perez who is in his second year of sanctuary against deportation and separation from his family here in our area. We will next provide meals the week of December 16. Those who would like to be added to the list of meal providers, can send Rich Connelly an e-mail, email@example.com.
Gift Cards for Thanksgiving With your generosity, our church community raised $175 for the Community Network for Children to buy Thanksgiving dinner essentials for many local families in need. Your contributions turned what otherwise would have been just ordinary day for these families into a special celebration. Thank you for spreading the joy!
Neighbors in Need (NIN) The final numbers are still coming in for our Neighbors in Need (NIN) donations, so we’ll give you an update in January. As one of the special missions offerings of the UCC Church World Service, this opportunity helps us have a broad reach from our local communities to ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States.
SEPTEMBER - NOVEMBER 2019
These holiday months are busy ones for our missions. The generosity of our church community brings joy to people we don’t know, in ways we can’t measure. The Missions Committee brings you these opportunities to contribute so you can choose those that are most meaningful to you.
Church World Service (CWS) CROP Hunger Walk — Congratulations to Kim Molar who walked this year again to support CROP Hunger Walk on our behalf. She raised $855. The total included a very generous donation from Rich Brazeau (Deb Brazeau embraced the importance of teaching her Sunday Schoolers about world hunger and taking them on the CROP Walk was one part of their experience).
Community Network for Children (CNC) support at the Harvest Festival — Thank you to everyone who donated jewelry, ornaments, books, crafts, knitted items, and baked goods that Rich Connelly and Claudia Gere sold, raising $174 for the Community Network for Children (CNC). More than the money, we spread a great deal of joy, raised awareness for the CNC clothing swap and signed up several families for the CNC newsletter. The Red Sox World Series hat raffle was won by a youngster from the Leverett Elementary School, who screamed with joy upon learning of his good luck. The Harvest Festival was October 5, 2019.
Clothing Swap — The October 19 clothing swap was held outside; it was a beautiful afternoon. Even more families attended than the previous swap this summer. Mary Hankinson and Tracey Field provided refreshments while Rich Connelly and Tom Hankinson helped with setup and other logistics. As the word is spreading, even more people are stopping by the CNC Store in the Dixon House on Thursday mornings. The CNC continues to provide much-needed services in our community in many different ways.
Gift Cards for Thanksgiving — We are also collecting donations in the form of Big Y gift cards so the CNC can provide turkeys and fixings to spread the joy of Thanksgiving to those who are less fortunate. You can leave cards in the basket located in the church vestibule or give them to Rich Connelly, Claudia Gere or Mary Hankinson of the Missions Committee. We need your contributions by Sunday, November 3.
Neighbors in Need (NIN) — Neighbors in Need (NIN) is a special mission offering of the United Church of Christ that supports ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States. One-third of NIN funds support the Council for American Indian Ministry (CAIM). Two-thirds of this offering is used by the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries (JWM) to support a variety of justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects through grants. Neighbors in Need grants are awarded to UCC churches and organizations doing justice work in their communities. These grants fund projects whose work
ranges from direct service to community organizing and advocacy to address systemic injustice. This year, special consideration will be given to projects focusing on serving our immigrant neighbors and communities.
We will receive your offerings on these three Sundays: November 10, 17, and 24.
Make checks payable to the Leverett Congregational Church and write NIN in the memo line. You can also make your donation online at
Last year Lucio Perez, now in his second year of church sanctuary, was an NIN grant recipient through requests on his behalf.
Meals for Lucio — Our church family continues to support Lucio Perez in sanctuary at First Church Amherst. Tom Hankinson, Elsje Sturtevant, and Rich Connelly provided meals the week of September 30.
We will again offer meals the week of December 9. Anyone who would like to be on the list of servers and isn’t already, please send email to Rich Connelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adopt-A-Family of Franklin County — We will again adopt a family for
Christmas through the Adopt-a-Family program. So stay tuned for details and
how you can participate.
JULY - AUGUST 2019
Leverett Harvest Festival - With the success of last year’s participation in the Leverett Harvest Festival, our church plans to set up there again this fall. The event usually takes place on an early Saturday in October so we have plenty of time to plan. The Missions Committee welcomes any ideas, calendar of community events, LCC promotional materials, or co-presentations for our tables at the event. We will, of course, be calling on our incredibly creative, talented baking community to participate, as well as any volunteers to represent us at the table. Please email or call 413-3590003 with your ideas or to volunteer.
Community Network for Children (CNC) – Clothing Swap The CNC will be hosting a kids clothing swap on the lawns in front of (or in case of rain, in) the Dixon House on Saturday, August 3, from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm. Spread the word! Psst — The Special Events Committee expects to set up a treats table alongside.
Our Ongoing Missions Work in the World — When news highlights of extreme weather events here and abroad feel so depressing, it’s good to know that your past contributions are making a difference in ways you cannot imagine. Our missions collections help families in need of spiritual, physical, financial, and psychological support. The United Church of Church Disaster Ministries provides assistance with acute and long-term disaster effects, which can last years following an event. We are there in service.
And here is another use of our contributions that seems particularly uplifting and forward looking. Over the past four years some 367 students have benefitted from Education Congo’s scholarship grants. Your gifts through the One Great Hour of Sharing collection enables aspiring young adults to choose a career path that will lead to transformation of themselves and their local communities. Among the scholarship recipients transforming their communities are many medical students.
Take a moment to appreciate how your generosity provides assistance to our neighbors in the U.S. and throughout the world.
— Claudia Gere, Chair, Missions Committee Rich Connelly and Mary Hankinson